Nov 14, 2011
So, on Friday, Verizon unveiled the Droid Razr, the 547th Droid phone released this year. This is likely hyperbole, but it doesn’t strike too far from the truth. The fact is, major Android manufacturers are diluting their product line. This argument was made by Engadget recently; many of the products are just confusing just based on the name alone. What does make a Droid Razr better than a Droid Thunderbolt, or an HTC Rezound better than an Evo, other than the name? If I’m having trouble figuring out the differences between two phones from a manufacturer besides “that one phone is newer” then how will the average user?
This is something where Apple has succeeded. Their products are very clearly identified, and their naming scheme has worked out to where it’s clear which device is better than which. Samsung has done a good job with this in the Galaxy S line; while the original line had confusing names on the various carriers, they still pushed the Galaxy S branding. As well, the Galaxy S II is being pushed as that name, which helps explain why it has sold so well internationally. Samsung still makes other phones, often targeted for budget lines, though. The fact is, Samsung and Apple are doing it right – they’re pushing their phones as individual devices, not continuing the same obfuscation that other manufacturers use.
This Apple and Samsung model is what other manufacturers need to adopt. Google is practicing it as well with the Nexus phones that they commission, trying to pitch them as their prime iPhone-esque brand leaders. In fact, making fewer phones and identifying them more clearly will work better for the Android platform as a whole. Right now, I fear that the muddled branding is part of Android’s problem with recognition. No one knows what any Android phone actually is. All they know is that there’s the iPhone, the Galaxy S 2, and those “Droid” phones. Apple is an intellectual market leader; the other manufacturers take design clues from them, why not follow their lead in other ways too?